NBA Weekly Preview and Trade Deadline Winners & Losers
So much NBA news to digest! The trade season is finally over until the off-season, which means we can see how teams will look in the run-up to the playoffs. The NBA schedule will take a short break with the All-Star weekend coming up from February Friday 18th to Sunday 20th, but there’s still lots going on in the meantime for hoops fans.
NBA Standings & News to Focus On
- Clips’ Powell out indefinitely after fracturing foot, PG & Kawhi still injured
- Harden to miss All-Star game, replaced by Jarrett Allen
- Celtics obliterate 76ers by 48 points for ninth straight win, but Marcus Smart leaves game with ankle injury
- KAT picks up 39 points and 15 rebounds as Wolves bite Hornets for the OT victory
- Giannis playing out of his mind with 50 points and 14 rebounds as Bucks destroy Pacers
- Heat make it close but Mavs get the huge road win
NBA Trade Deadline Recap
There are no more NBA rumors! Thankfully, we finally have real trades set in stone and we can discuss and debate the new trades made before the deadline. Here are the biggest and most impactful.
Ben Simmons heads to Brooklyn while Phili gets James Harden
It appeared as if the NBA trade deadline would finish just “meh,” but then the reports started trickling in that one disgruntled star was going to be traded for another disgruntled star. Well, it happened, as Simmons and Harden swapped places just before the deadline.
76ers general manager, Daryl Morey, was adamant all season long that he wouldn’t trade Ben Simmons for anything less than another franchise superstar. Simmons had sat out every game this season so far due to his reluctance to play for Philadelphia in the aftermath of the team’s shock exit to Atlanta in the 2021 playoffs.
James Harden, it seems, was growing more and more frustrated at his role in Brooklyn, as despite his obvious talents on the court, leading a struggling Nets team was apparently not what he signed up for.
The part-time play of Kyrie Irving due to his vaccination status, combined with the injury-prone Kevin Durant, meant that it was up to Harden most nights to carry the load. With Brooklyn currently eighth in the East NBA standings, it was clear as day that Harden was becoming irritated at not just the losing, but the heavy expectations placed on him, especially as Harden himself is struggling with his own injuries.
With this trade, both teams get a much-needed fresh start, as Phili has a lethal Embiid/Harden combo, while Simmons can actually facilitate to two incredible shooters in Irving and Durant, as well as adding his staunch defensive abilities to Brooklyn (where defense is slightly lacking).
In addition to the main stars, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round picks were sent to the Nets, while the 76ers also received Paul Millsap in the deal. Curry and Drummond are solid pieces that any team would love to have, so it’s hard not to see the Nets winning the trade if Simmons is playing at an All-Star level. Please, let’s have a Nets/76ers playoff battle, as we can’t wait to see both home crowds tearing apart their respective former players.
Mavs trade Porzingis to Wizards for Dinwiddie and Bertans
Evidently, the one-two punch of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis was not going well. Porzingis, although playing solid enough this season, has been unreliable on the court, prone to injuries, and simply isn’t performing up to his giant contract.
It seems shocking that the best offer available to Dallas was Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans from Washington, but the market for Porzingis was at an all-time low. Once thought of as one of the NBA’s best and brightest young talents in New York and in Dallas, Porzingis has struggled to live up to his billing via a combination of injuries and simply average play.
The Mavs may have enough to cause some trouble in the playoffs with Luka and co., but you can be sure they’ll be hunting some bigger names in the off-season. The Wizards, meanwhile, will hope to convince Bradley Beal that the team is worthy of his obvious talents, but whether Porzingis is that persuasive remains to be seen until he’s on the court again.
Kings send Hield and Haliburton to Indiana for Sabonis
There had been rumblings of the Pacers shaking things up for several weeks before the NBA trade deadline, especially regarding Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. Only one of them was traded, however, with the Kings receiving big man Sabonis, Justin Holiday, and Jeremy Lamb in exchange for Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson.
The most interesting aspect of this trade is undoubtedly the Kings being willing to part with rising star Haliburton, whom they only drafted with pick no.12 (an absolute steal) in the 2020 NBA Draft. The De’Aaron Fox/Haliburton duo was lukewarm at best, but it’s still perplexing to give up such a young asset. Still, we get it, as Sabonis is a great presence straight away and a quick fix for a struggling Sacramento team currently 13th in the West NBA standings.
For the Pacers, it’s certainly rebuilding time, but there’s a bright future with Haliburton, Malcolm Brogdon, and this year’s fantastic prospect, Chris Duarte. It seems likely that Turner will be shipped out in the off-season, as his recent foot injury is almost certainly the reason that no team was willing to make a move for the skilled center.
Other Notable Trades
- Celtics make two big trades: Thefirst saw them receiving guard Derrick White from the Spurs for Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, a first-round pick and a pick swap. The second was acquiring (ex-Celtics player) Daniel Theis from Houston for Dennis Schröder, Bruno Fernando, and Enes Freedom.
- Cavs make a small but significant deal: Cleveland picked up Caris LeVert and a second-round pick by sending Ricky Rubio, a first-round pick and two second-round picks to the Pacers.
- Portland starts its rebuilding process: No fan enjoys seeing star players shipped out, but things don’t look great in Portland. Although the Blazers still have Damian Lillard (who knows for how long), they traded Norman Powell and Robert Covington to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson, and a second-round pick.
It didn’t end there, as the Blazers traded long-time favorite, CJ McCollum, as well as Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell to New Orleans for Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker (who was later sent to the Jazz), Didi Louzada, a first-round pick and two second-round picks.
Celtics keep rolling after crushing the 76ers on their home floor
Who says there is drama in Boston? Earlier in the year, it seemed like the sky was falling for the Celtics, with the team playing badly, players making bad comments at each other in the media, and a new coach not seemingly able to handle superstars, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
They say that winning cures everything for any sports team, and this is certainly no different for the Celtics, who have now reeled off nine wins in a row and are rapidly climbing the standings. While strong defense is a big part of these victories, as Boston currently ranks second in defensive rating, the improved play of Brown and Tatum is at the core of the success.
Both guys can score at will, as Tatum is averaging 25.8 PPG while Brown has 23.6 PPG, but it’s also the slight development of the two stars beginning to distribute the ball that is definitely a huge plus for the Celtics. Tatum and Brown have been accused of being ball hogs (even by teammates), but a willingness to pass when no shot is available is something that Celtics fans have been dreaming of for years now.
Of course, the acquisition of Derrick White can only help this Boston team finally making its mark in the league this season, as the former Spur simply helps to be a playmaker and control the tempo of the game. The Celtics were never short on talent, but with White now in the mix, they have someone to help become a real point guard for a team desperately needing one to control the offense.
The mind-blowing turnaround of the Celtics was on display Tuesday night, when Boston absolutely dismantled the 76ers in Philadelphia, 135-87. Sure, there’s no Harden just yet and every player is desperate for a break over All-Star weekend, but a 48-point victory is shocking for a Phili team that still had its core line-up of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Danny Green.
To put things in perspective, the Boston Celtics have played the Philadelphia 76ers 457 times in total, and last night’s win was the largest margin of all time (the previous best was 124-87 back in 1987).
The 76ers will likely present James Harden in his first game on February 25th against Minnesota, and the offensive explosion we know Harden will bring simply can’t come fast enough.
The Celtics looked invincible right from the jump, but it was the massive 37-20 second quarter that knocked down the Sixers, who never got back up again. A chorus of boos was heard throughout the 76ers’ home arena, as unless you were a Boston fan making the trip to Philadelphia, you certainly had a bad time watching the Sixers on Tuesday.
Tatum poured in 30 points and added 12 rebounds and six assists (with zero turnovers), while Brown contributed with 29 points, eight rebounds, and three assists (with two turnovers). Phili, on the other hand, had a fairly lackluster effort from Embiid compared to his usual standards, as the big man ended up with 19 points and nine boards, while Tyrese Maxey was the only other 76ers player to score in double figures with 11 points.
There was, however, some bad news during the Celtics’ victory, and that was guard Marcus Smart limping off the floor after twisting his right ankle on Embiid’s giant foot when driving to the basket.
Smart picked up the injury with only 5:15 left in the second quarter, and despite the setback not affecting the outcome of the game, it’s still a big blow to a Celtics team that loves Smart’s competitiveness, scoring punches, and defensive leadership. It’s unclear how long Smart will be sidelined with the ankle injury, but at least he has some extra time off with the ASG coming up this weekend.
Author: Joe Garland